Athletes discuss ‘top-notch’ conditions ahead of Cross Country World Cup

Athletes discuss ‘top-notch’ conditions ahead of Cross Country World Cup

Athletes discuss ‘top-notch’ conditions ahead of Cross Country World Cup

The ski races kick off Saturday at Theodore Wirth Park in Minneapolis for the 2024 COOP FIS Cross Country World Cup.

On Friday, we heard from some of the athletes with Team USA about their excitement and how the course is looking during what’s been a warmer winter.

“This is really emotional for me, so if I start crying, just bear with me,” said Jessie Diggins, Afton native and a member of Team USA.

It’s the first time the Cross Country World Cup has been on U.S. soil in more than 20 years, and Afton native Jessie Diggins deserves a lot of credit for bringing it here to Minnesota.

“I feel like this was the last thing that I really wanted to do in my career,” Diggins said.

But it almost didn’t happen…

“It has been really hard, and it has made such a cool, awesome event really challenging to pull off with these winter conditions,” Diggins said.

Our warmer temperatures and lack of snow made for some extra work and creativity by the Loppet Foundation to bring in snow.

“It’s cool to see how many people had to pull out all the stops to make it happen,” Diggins said.

This week, there was a snow miracle as several inches blanketed the course just in time, and the athletes say they are impressed.

“Talking to other athletes and other teams, they were blown away by the course conditions,” said Julia Kern of Team USA.

“The course preparation has been really top-notch,” said Rosie Brennan with Team USA.

The weekend will be filled with athletes from around the world, and thousands of spectators will get to see this sport up close.

“Can you imagine any other country having to wait this long for their home World Cup and it’s all unleashed in a weekend. I don’t know, get ready… Brace yourself because I think it’s going to be a heck of a time,” Kern said.

Win or lose, Diggins believes she’ll leave this weekend knowing it’s a win for the sport and Minnesota.

“For all the people who made this World Cup possible, thank you so much… Like, I can retire happy now. I’m not retiring right now, but when I do I’ll be happy,” Diggins said.

Tickets are sold out for spectators, but an official watch party is happening down the street at Utepils Brewing.           

The races kick off Saturday morning at 10 a.m.